Poker Rooms Shut Down with 3,700 Casino Workers On Strike in Detroit
Poker rooms in Detroit have shut down after 3,700 casino workers walked off the job at three different properties in the Michigan city.
All three casinos will remain open during the strike, but poker rooms have temporarily closed at MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit.
An update to the website for MotorCity Casino indicated their poker room would be closed temporarily, while a sign informed visitors at MGM Grand Detroit that the area was closed. A phone representative at Hollywood Casino in Greektown said the casino was open, and the poker room operations were unaffected by the strike.
The strike includes 3,700 employees represented by the Detroit Casino Council, a labor organization comprising five unions that negotiate for workers at casinos throughout the city. The work stoppage covers dealers, food and beverage workers, engineers, and more across all three properties.
Striking workers are asking for better healthcare, higher wages, and a return to pre-pandemic staffing sizes.
The two sides have been negotiating since September, and a three-year extension to the original five-year contract expired on Tuesday. The workers went on strike when a deal was not reached by the deadline.
The extension was agreed to during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when casinos were under pressure to stay open. Workers now say that revenue has returned to pre-pandemic levels, especially with the inclusion of iGaming throughout Michigan.
In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue and is on track for another record-breaking year in 2023, said a news release from the Detroit Gaming Council. The three Detroit casinos collectively reported $813 million more in total gaming revenues in 2022 than in 2019, but total wages paid to workers represented by the DCC were $34 million less when comparing those same years.
The strike is the first for Detroit casinos since gaming expansion in Michigan in the late 1990s.
Meanwhile, 40,000 members of the Culinary Union in Las Vegas authorized a strike in late September. Negotiations are ongoing while the threat of a work stoppage at MGM, Caesars, and Wynn properties remains.
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